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  #161  
Old 11-10-2013, 02:31 PM
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Kevin? I mean this in the nicest possible way...

STAAHHP!

Stop dissing your posts and yourself. If people don't want to read long posts, they won't - I read them because I like reading them and I CHOSE to spend my time reading them; please don't flagellate yourself over it.

Now, I have no answers re. all your duck questions, but re. animal ethics, we observe behavior that we as humans can relate to in ourselves. Koko and her sign language (and her kitten(s)), elephants' capacity to mourn their dead, etc. We still are pretty egocentric as a species, but there seem to be movements underway to respect other species a bit better than before.

Time for moar coffee!
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  #162  
Old 11-10-2013, 06:47 PM
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Don't worry Kevin, my post was more to educate you with the info on many behaviors of non-Human animals that have been "observed" by Human animals and the entirety of that post was directed at Humanity in general since so many Humans seem to be so self-righteous about themselves and how they see every thing.~
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Old 11-10-2013, 10:28 PM
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Re:
Quote:
"Don't worry Kevin, my post was more to educate you with the info on many behaviors of non-human animals that have been 'observed' by human animals and the entirety of that post was directed at humanity in general since so many humans seem to be so self-righteous about themselves and how they see everything."
Okay; I can handle that. May all the self-righteous humans be damned. (A bit more on the less-pretentious humans in a moment ...)

Re (from YouAreHere):
Quote:
"STAAHHP!"
Oh but I'm having so much fun. I love self-flagellation. Helps fill that emptiness in my heart that was hollowed out when I was deprived of a strict Catholic upbringing.

Anywayz, thanks for the heartfelt props.

Now along the same lines ... my warped dream is that someday humans will stop flagellating (verbally and otherwise) their own species and yes even that humans (American humans in particular) will stop flagellating America.

Why? because humans are so perfect? Heh-nooooo. Because America is so glorious? Heh-nooooo. Simply because, like you, I rather dislike watching other people essentially beating themselves up.

Now granted, this is a special type of "self-flagellation" that involves the "few enlightened humans who are superior to the hordes of evil humans" and the "few enlightened Americans who are superior to the hordes of evil Americans." But for me? It still all looks like nasty hateful shit that's full of negative energy.

So do I have some kind of better idea? Maybe, maybe not, but one first thought I'll throw out there is, "Hate the sin, love the sinner." Americans (and even non-American humans) do some damn horrible, inhumane shit. And you bet I hate that shit. But I refuse to give up on the people who have the potential to do so much better.

Example: What good does it do to hate the Nazis? They did what they did. It's done. Millions of innocent lives lost, generational chains permanently damaged, and no way to go back in time and make it right. And *do* we hate the Nazis? Well neo-Nazis, often, yes. Old and long-dead Nazis, even, often yes. But originally Germany was "Nazi Central" and hated as part and parcel with Nazi-hating. Well, why'd we stop hating Germans per se? They're still the "evil descendants of evil Jew killers" just as much as white Americans are the evil descendants of evil slave owners. But by way of some magical turn-around in the human brain, Germans are (less than a century after WWII) considered some of neatest/niftiest people around, and Germany as a whole is seen as one of the neatest/niftiest countries around. That's some fast-ass forgiveness, in my opinion.

We now, in fact, realize that the real problem is that virtually *all* humans have the capacity to "become Nazis," and we need to figure out how to prevent ourselves from becoming Nazis ever, ever again. Voilą! The human race (including Germany) can be liked and loved just fine without having a drop of love for the atrocities that the Nazis committed. So to re-cap: hate the sin; love the sinner.

What we should be worrying about, therefore, is how to inspire a shift in human consciousness. Destroying all the evil people won't solve the overall problem. We need a big-picture approach to the ills, evils, and errors of humankind. So I say it again: Please, all within the sound of my voice: a bit less hating on the human race? Please? Please?

Even today, with all the rotten, goddamned things that *some/many* people do, *many* other people are out there doing a shitload of inspirational good. Would it be so awful if we focused a bit more on that? gleaned a little hope for the future of humanity (and thence all life on Earth) by observing, acknowledging, and celebrating the awesome goodness that these enlightened people are accomplishing? and we're not even usually talking about famous role models here either; we're usually talking about plain ordinary folks who just go about their humble lives as unsung heroes. In other words, humanity has a *great deal of good in it,* to go along with all the terrible, tragic abominations.

In other words, I propose that we put most of our species-wide self-improvement efforts into the mindset of: "Look at all the good we're already accomplishing: How can we build upon that?" rather than sooo often obsessing about, "Oh God we are such an awful miserable arrogant worthless species, all hope is lost, the world and all life thereon will soon destroyed and it will be all our fault." Gee, when one paints oneself with that negative of a brush, doesn't it kind of become a self-fulfilling prophecy? Are we going to tell ourselves that we're destined to continue fucking up, or are we going to tell ourselves that we're going to learn how to do better -- and better -- and better? Personally, I vote for the latter mindset. "Dammit! We're humans. Our brains are big/sophisticated enough to learn what we need to learn. So, we're going to learn it. Watch and see!"

Humanity, in other words, rather than beating itself up for its (admittedly gigantic) mistakes, can (psychologically and otherwise) reward itself for *all* the good that it does, and in that way encourage itself to do even better. Which to me is a promising way to go about improving humankind ... and sooo much less depressing than the species' current rituals of self-flagellation. If depression, guilt, and self-putdowns are not the way to accomplish individual self-improvement, then why should they be the way to accomplish species-wide self-improvement? Is everyone feeling me here? Yes? Yes? Cool idea, kdt26417, you're onto something, in no small part because of YouAreHere's kind encouragement toward you.

In that way, I apologize (coz you know how I adore apologizing) for that lengthy rant of mine, and for "exploiting" your use of the term "flagellate" to demonstrate my own point even though it might not have been a point that you felt so keen about. I earnestly ask your pardon and your indulgence. And hey, if you did feel keen about my "little rant," why, then, I'm a lucky, lucky guy, just as I am if you'll still extend me a remission for my opportunistic stratagem (and failure to give fair warning that I was gonna go all "Republican" spider-monkey on you).
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  #164  
Old 11-10-2013, 10:28 PM
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So now that we've talked about humans per se, let's talk about humans and all remaining animals -- and plants, yes plants:

From FinchJ on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 11:19:57 AM PDT:
Quote:
"Not sure how anyone who chooses 'all animals' expects to eat anything at all considering the deaths of insects and other 'multicellular, eukaryotic organisms' is pretty much guaranteed when harvesting plants for food. Multicellular organisms abound on the surface, inside, and outside everything we cultivate for food. They die when we eat them.
Of course, why stop at animals and not continue on to fungi? After all, many types of fungi operate with a level of 'intelligence' that is astonishing. Mycorrhizal fungi have the ability to transport water, nutrients, hormones, and other types of resources/messages vast distances (kilometers) between different species of plants.
What about their right to life?
Where to draw the line is always going to be arbitrary given the practicality of feeding ourselves. I would like to say we should extend this to cetaceans, elephants, apes, and monkeys.
However, I think a better idea would be to change the way we interact with the entire planet. I think we should recognize the importance of all species while coming to terms with the reality that we have to eat something and that even if we decide to only eat plants, there are many other organisms (including animals) that will die in the process.
We should do our best to restore ecosystem services, increase biodiversity, and design better systems of human settlement that account for complexity rather than the current industrial paradigm that simplifies, excludes, and destroys."
First of all, level of intelligence isn't the end-all be-all of our ethical considerations about how this or that animal ought to be treated. And that's in addition to my (wait for it) official admission that we can't possibly *know* how "smart" *any* animal (or plant!) really is.

That said, let's not abandon all objectivity if measuring intelligence is the question at hand. We can't *know* but we can still *guess* based on observation and (sadly subjective) interpretation of the apparent information. Example: It's absolutely cool and amazing that (at least one) gorilla has proven that she can comprehend at least 2,000 human words. But see Wikipedia: "The Oxford English Dictionary lists over 250,000 distinct words, not including many technical, scientific, and slang terms." And see: "A 1995 study shows that junior-high students would be able to recognize the meanings of about 10,000-12,000 words, while for college students this number grows up to about 12,000-17,000 and for elderly adults up to about 17,000-21,000 or more."

Okay, so maybe the "problem" here is that we're measuring Koko by *human* words instead of *gorilla* words. Fair enough. I don't know the nature of gorillas' communication systems, nor how sophisticated said systems really are. Perhaps it says enough that one animal is able to learn *another animal's* communication system to such a significant degree. Guess the jury's out as regards how smart gorillas *really* are.

And, then there's those all-important opposable thumbs that so augment whatever intellectual prowess humans possess. So you could argue that cities and spaceships and symphonies and heart transplants don't count as true measurements of human intelligence compared to animal intelligence. But let's be fair here: We can at least be reasonably convinced that humans are pretty damned smart as a whole. Smarter than the other apes? I don't know. I do admittedly however suspect that the answer is, "Probably." Maybe not even by *that* much, but probably by some moderate margin.

Dolphins? I have no idea. It's very possible that they're at least as smart as humans; after all they don't even have hands let alone opposable thumbs. And God knows that they demonstrate all kinds of intelligence in many, many ways.

For that matter, I think cats and dogs (and pigs; definitely elephants -- probably horses and maybe cows too) are also pretty freakin' smart. Anecdote of the day: My cat Rainee (a Russian blue with a dash of Siamese) has been increasingly impressing me lately with her displays of, well, cleverness to say the least.

Now Rainee looooves food (as do I) and is three pounds overweight (eliciting the vet's disapproval of course). So I'm poking around for ways to tap into her intelligence and get her on board with the idea of "dieting habits." Sometimes I think she actually gets what I mean when I say, "Now try to wait awhile after you eat this." Can't tell for sure.

But check this out. Last night she "pinged" me for some "nightcap" food. I acquiesced. And *she* refrained from eating it. Never once ever saw her turn down cat food or cat treats of any kind! She cleans her dish. But not this time.

Instead, she goes and does some more of her "begging rituals" for me to get her some more food. What? She's getting picky now? Well, okay ... So I got her a little more food of a different kind and added it to the dish. And again -- she barely touches it, and then starts begging for more food again! WTF? Well, I had three kinds of cat food/treats in my room so I now added the third kind (some diet kibble). And Rainee rinsed and repeated! Well I had to apologize to her, "Sorry sweetie, that's all the kinds I've got here; there's one more kind out in the kitchen but our other two humans have turned in and I don't want to disturb their repose."

In maybe about a minute (or less), she seemed to "get" what I was getting at, and stopped begging. But she left that damn dish untouched and richly supplied with food. Unprecedented! Then she left (presumably to sleep on the couch).

Thoroughly puzzled, I turned in. And, as usual, I slept late -- later than Rainee ever does. And when I'm asleep (or almost asleep), I'm definitely too lazy to get up. Which means on all previous occasions, Rainee's hankerings to eat as soon as *she* gets up go unheeded, even with her cute/friendly attempts to nudge me out of bed.

Aha! She didn't *have* to "nudge me out of bed" this morning. She just waltzed in while I was fast asleep (never heard her coming or going), consumed that whole dish of waiting food from the night before, and waltzed back out.

To put it simply: Holy shit! This overeating cat *delayed her own gratification* from dark to sun-up, and then proceeded to *remember* her plan from the night before, and follow through on it. LOLOL, WTH??? My cat has learned how to be a squirrel with no squirrel training. My beloved "hinge lady" suggested to me that perhaps Rainee trained herself by watching the squirrels from her windowside view? Well I assume that was meant as a joke, but the point is ... *How smart really is this cat? She knows too much.*

We'll see if she repeats that little trick tonight/tomorrow. But I'm thoroughly impressed just from knowing she did it once. They say Russian blues are considered a particularly clever breed, but my God!
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Old 11-10-2013, 10:29 PM
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And there's the fact that the dog (Sophie) knows the difference between a garbage truck and a UPS truck from at least three blocks away, just from the subtly different sounds of the engines. (Not a peep for the garbage truck, but barks her head off for a UPS or FedEx truck, cause hey, package for us, this time for sure, yay!)

Having said all that, it still doesn't matter *that much* how smart a given animal is. I'm not in a "smartness contest" to prove that I'm better than or superior to my pets or any other animal. It just matters to me that we all try to treat each other as best as we can, at all times. And God bless Rainee, she knows how to do me right too. What a wonderful bed buddy she often makes (even if it's not every day). She's quiet; she keeps out of the way ... She's a doll. (Did I mention I was a cat lover?)

Now the tricky part: What about the really low-sentience animals? clams for example? Less "rights" (such as the "right" to be called a non-human person)? Well? and where do we draw the line? How can we know, since we can't *really* know how "smart" *any* animal is? I guess my point is, there's always going to be an element of puzzle/mystery to how much (and what kind of) rights we should grant this or that animal.

The best lame answer I can suggest is this: Err on the side of kindness. Don't smash that spider, for example, if you can stand to just wave and let it march on by. Yes it's a bug in your house, but it does help you by eating other bugs, and spiders certainly have "evolutionary seniority" over humans in that they've been around a lot longer than we have. It's not like the spider's hurting you, amirite? Shoot, I remember the story of some little family's (Midwest?) house that was infested with brown recluses. The people had lived there for many years and had young children, and yet *no one* had ever been bitten (as far as anyone could tell). Spiders (including the very few significantly poisonous ones) don't *live* for the joy of biting humans, despite the creepy way they make us feel. So: be kind to the bugs and the birds, and all forms of life, as much as you reasonably can, and make the best guess you can with respect to ethics and morals.

Side topic: Alas, "saving" spiders by shooing them outdoors doesn't save them at all. They're *actual indoor spiders.* They evolved to thrive in the unique indoor environment (shelter yes, abundant prey no, easily available water hell no). Set that poor spider outside, and it's now exposed to the elements which it's totally unsuited for. It'll probably freeze, or get taken out by some outdoor spider. Who knows. Point is, it won't live very long, and it's death'll probably suck. Smashing the poor fucker would actually be kinder (albeit much more gruesome). And now all you spider lovers out there know the truth about indoor spiders ... and why I say, just let 'em walk on by if you can. (Helping them get out of the tub is no easy task for me, cause they do creep me out and they don't exactly know how to cooperate, but I try to do it anyway.)

Oh oh, and the other thing I wanted to say. This is just my opinon, I know, but I sincerely believe that for lots and lots of non-human animals, "life in captivity" isn't necessarily always bad, sad, and terrible. Notice how most cat advocates beg us not to let our cats outside -- even the cats who'd *like* to go outside. Why? Cause it sucks out there. Yes yes, the beauty of nature and all that, but also the cold, sickness and disease from possums and whatnot, cars for God's sake if you live in the city (or adjacent to any road), and above all, *the chance that they could get lost.* That's right, most cat advocates *want* our cats to stay captive! They know it's good for them! Of course that presumes a home where the cats are treated kindly, fed, watered, given proper medical attention, etc.

Lots and lots of animals starve/freeze/etc. out in the wilds, and that's a fact. Humans have a totally luxurious life in comparison, and some animals probably quite enjoy partaking in that luxury. Ever heard someone say, "Man, that dog has it so easy, I wish I was a dog." Yes they're joking, but there's a bit of truth lodged in there if you asked me.

Dolphin captivity? I don't know. Sounds like it has some good points for the dolphins and some bad -- presuming of course that the dolphins are treated kindly, fed well, given medical attention, etc. ... and maybe, just maybe, some of those dolphins do get a kick out of entertaining their "human captors." They sure seem to me to give off that vibe, but I'll be the first to admit that I don't know any dolphin well enough to have Clue One about how it *really* feels. I just make the best guess I can based on what little (mostly intuitive) info I have, and give at least moral support to whatever sounds like a beneficent (win-win if possible) idea.

Setting the dolphins free? Oh, I suppose that sounds nice enough (even though it exposes them to the dangers of the wilds). Sounds like as good a guess as any; sure, I'll support it. But I don't *know* that (all) dolphins hate "domestic life," so I'm not necessarily all down on those "evil dolphin jailors" either. I'd really need more info before I could take a "strongly-grounded" stance on the matter. If there are *any* ways humans can think of to discern what helps the dolphins the most, then I do favor using those ways and making a sincere effort to treat those dolphins right. Surely others have better insights into the dolphin mind than I, so I'll let them make the judgment call. (Kind of a gimmie that we shouldn't kill dolphins, duh. But what about all those poor tuna fish? Yeah I'll leave that riddle basically unanswered for now.)

Now if you want an *indisputable* example of cruel animal captivity, feast your eyes on human slavery (since all humans, black, white, or whatever, are technically animals). Perhaps the "house slave" is doing well enough, but those poor bastards out there in the cotton fields are definitely getting screwed, and in most cases are probably being treated like shit in virtually every way (short of what's needed to keep them alive so they can keep on working). Shudder!
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  #166  
Old 11-10-2013, 11:58 PM
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To quote a great man from Captain America the movie, "People often forget that the first country the Nazis invaded was their own."

Many of the thousands of lives that were taken were German lives, German "Jewish" lives.~

"Germany" does not need to be "forgiven" nor had it ever needed to be, it was those who helped the "Nazis" and Hilter's rise to power that need to be forgiven.~

Only an ignorant person or a liar would blame an entire country for some thing individuals or groups did who were from that country.~

I know you are neither of these.~

I don't hate people, in fact I don't judge people at all, I believe "morality" and its' existence is completely subjective depending on the person.~

I have no "morality", I do not see things as "good" or "bad" nor do I hold others to my ideals and judge them for their actions.~

I like certain things and I don't like certain things, when my likes and dislikes interact with others' likes and dislikes it is usually an interaction without many issues, but I am firm in my convictions and I never "submit" to any one, but I do change my point of view often.~

I do not mind living in a society with established values by the people who live within it, but I am against forcing every one every where, even if they do not wish to be apart of a society with values that conflict their own, to accept these values as their own to live by.~

I make a "difference" between "shame" and "guilt", to me:

"shame" is when you feel horrible because "some one else" has felt that you did some thing "bad" according to "their" "morality",

"guilt" is when you feel horrible because "you" feel that you have done some thing "bad" according to "your own" "morality".~

When you say "good" I have no idea what you are talking about!~

"Good" is completely subjective depending on the person, *your* "good" may be some one else's "bad" and so on.~

Please be *specific*.~


*sigh* Intelligence is simply defined as the speed and ability to learn and understand some thing, this "some thing" can be "any thing"!~ We actually have "no idea" if any one is truly "intelligent" in "every thing" as there are an "infinite number of intelligence".~

One intelligent in mathematics could be unintelligent in basketball and one intelligent in basketball could be unintelligent in mathematics.~

I agree with you in that no amount of difference between any one whether they be Human or non-Human does not make one or the other "better" than the other or "less capable".~

Please don't make the same mistake as others even here on these forums have made: the mistaken idea that because a creature is "not Human" they are some how less capable of adapting to change as any Human would be.~ (I expanded on this more in my thread: Feelings on "Pets")

This is a mistake many Humans make of being condescending towards other species.~

I know you like other Humans may feel very "protective" and "caring" of other non-Human creatures, but please don't let this "protection" and "caring" become "discrimination" and "patronizing".~


Love,

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Old 11-11-2013, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ColorsWolf View Post
Please don't make the same mistake as others even here on these forums have made: the mistaken idea that because a creature is "not Human" they are some how less capable of adapting to change as any Human would be
How capable of adapting to the wilderness would a modern-day, first-world human be without considerable training? Many homeless people depend on the kindness of others, as do many stray animals (my ex feeds three stray cats and apparently, a couple foxes and a possum ).

I doubt that a domesticated animal is any less adaptable. Rather, I think in this society, we've domesticated ourselves out of our own survival instincts as well.
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Old 11-11-2013, 09:25 PM
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How capable of adapting to the wilderness would a modern-day, first-world human be without considerable training? Many homeless people depend on the kindness of others, as do many stray animals (my ex feeds three stray cats and apparently, a couple foxes and a possum ).

I doubt that a domesticated animal is any less adaptable. Rather, I think in this society, we've domesticated ourselves out of our own survival instincts as well.
There comes a point though where Human or not, many creatures let go of their 'civilized' mindset holding them back and tap into their 'instincts', sure it may not be a 'pretty' way to live and there may be no coming back from it, but it is by no means impossible.~

That's the definition of the word 'feral':

fe·ral1 [feer-uhl, fer-] Show IPA
adjective
1.existing in a natural state, as animals or plants; not domesticated or cultivated; wild.
2.having reverted to the wild state, as from domestication: a pack of feral dogs roaming the woods.
3.of or characteristic of wild animals; ferocious; brutal.

Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/feral
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Old 11-12-2013, 12:40 AM
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Clarification about my Nazi-related comments: I knew that Germany was never "all Nazi," and I knew that the Nazis took "their own land over first." Which is kind of a side detail anyway. What I was getting at was that "the world at large" had a beef against Germany as a whole because it was there that the Nazis got started and established their center of power. Lots people surely saw many or most Germans as supporting the Nazis even if they weren't Nazis themselves. Now was that a misperception on "everyone's" part? Oh yes, largely so at the least. Many Germans tried to resist what the Nazis were doing (and many Germans were Jews and the earliest victims of the Holocaust). But much of the rest of the world probably didn't realize/appreciate all that. So, the upshot of all this misperception was that a lot of people (perhaps especially Americans but maybe English folks too and who knows) were, during WWII, really pissed off at Germany as a whole (and by extension much or most of its people).

Now for a reiteration of the point I wanted to make about all that: I think it's really cool that, after all that, people pretty much worldwide have come to downright like or even love Germany and by extension most/all of its native peoples. So, what have we learned? that people can learn how to hate the sin (the Holocaust) but love the sinner (Germany the country and its previously-misunderstood citizens by extension). Considering how awful the Holocaust was, I reckon it took quite a motion of "forgiveness" on "the world's part" to change so much in its opinion of Germany in so short a time.

Definitely not saying Germany "needed" to be forgiven. Just saying that it *was* forgiven (or should I say, at least came to be much better understood), and isn't that something. Yay for hating the sin and loving the sinner! It can be done, sez that one example at least. Forgiving Hitler and the Nazis themselves would obviously be even more amazing, and some people including some Holocaust victims have managed to do just that. Even better! Astonishing as well.

Re: morality ... just so we're clear, let me officially state that I do agree that morals and ethics are inevitably subjective. Lots of people disagree with me on that point of course (e.g. religious zealots who consider the Bible and church authorities to be the final words on all things ethical and moral). Nevertheless, I still believe in *trying* to behave ethically and morally, using whatever resources (e.g. diverse literature and discussions with diverse people having the objective of giving morals and ethics considerable thought) are reasonably available to one to make the best guesses one can within the confines of one's own abilities.

Meanwhile, I expect other people to make "different moral or ethical choices" than I would because they have a different understanding (and hence have guessed differently) than I have about what constitutes ethical/moral behavior. Not always a happy situation, but for the most part, I think I can live with that. For example, right-to-lifers will generally continue to try to outlaw abortion, and even though I can't in good conscience support them in that effort, I can still respect the likelihood that they're trying to do the right thing (as am I).

It can certainly be argued that there should be "no laws about anything" since ethics and morals are so subjective, but I can at least understand why "society as a whole" feels that it needs to enforce certain things (Confining to either prison or at least a psychiatric institution someone who's just committed a series of violent rapes seems to me like a particularly understandable example).

Now socially pressuring (let alone physically forcing) people into cutting their hair, living monogamously, or even wearing clothes especially when illogical due to hot weather, stuff like that, in my opinion is certainly going overboard in the "mission to see that basic ethics/morals are carried out in society." Hair growth, polyamory, and public nudity are not ethical/moral issues in my eyes; they are merely matters of personal choice and preference.

Sooo ... where does one draw the line between stuff that "needs" enforcement (e.g. violent-rape prevention) and stuff that *doesn't need* enforcement (or even persuasion)? I don't precisely know, and I seeeriously doubt that anyone really knows. Again, as with the personal exercise of morals and ethics using one's best (hopefully educated) guess, the best I can expect any society to do is to try to conduct its affairs morally/ethically to the best of its (hopefully educated) collective understanding. Sucky state of affairs but there it is.

Re: your definitions of, and distinctions between, guilt and shame ... sound fine to me.
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Old 11-12-2013, 12:41 AM
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Re: good ... gods I hope you're not hoping that I'll give you a complete list of what things I consider to be good! I'd need a huge library, way more time than I'll ever have, and a post ridiculously longer than Polyamory.com's one-post limit, in order to accomplish that. Sorry, that's one request I just can't carry out. If you want me to "be specific" about what "good" means to me, I'll need you to be specific about what kind of specifics you have in mind. I guess I don't have some formulaic code I can use to automatically determine what's good. For the most part I just make judgment calls on a case-by-case basis. Unsatisfactory perhaps to some, but to me it seems to be adequately satisfactory for my own purposes.

Sure "good" is subjective. Oh well, back to the type of problem that morals and ethics present: We all have to guess at what constitutes good, and the best we can do is to try to educate ourselves about various people's philosophies in order to engage ourselves in deeper thought about the matter and hopefully improve our guesses. Well that's a shitty deal ... but unfortunately, it's all we've got.

Re: intelligence ... yep, most certainly comes in all shapes and forms. Is it possible that someone out there (especially if there's an infinite number of inhabited universes) knows everything? Why yes it is. Do we therefore *know* that someone exists out there who knows everything? Other than that (those) hypothetical someone/s, no, I don't think any of the rest of us know one way or another.

Re: humans and their "superior adaptability" ... well, humans today certainly aren't terribly adaptable, at least not without the help of all their fancy tools and technologies. But I don't see how it's arrogant to simply observe that at one time, humans, without all the fancy tools and technologies they have today, did indeed spread into more kinds of environment than any other non-human person (or plant) I know of. So if they aren't more capable of adapting to change than any other (Earthly) life forms, all indications seem to confirm that they *were* more adaptable at one time.

Please note that adaptability isn't the same thing as superiority. Every living creature has its own talents and specialties. So humans (at one time) proved to be good at adapting to new environments. So what? All that means is that humans' particular talent (or one of their talents at least) resided in that area. Other life forms had their own talents. I ... don't see what the problem is. No one's engaged (I'm not at least) in any contest to prove that humans are somehow better than any other life form. They're just different from other life forms, that's all. All life forms are different from each other. Better at some things, less suited for other things.

Well, that's diversity for you. I guess if some mysterious being up in the sky were somehow "taking score" on who was "the best" and who deserved to live while all other Earthly beings deserved to die, then we'd have something serious to argue about. But personally, I'm quite sure that no such contest exists. In some (arrogant) humans' minds does it possibly exist? Well it certainly wouldn't surprise me. But I just don't care that much about what other humans (especially the arrogant ones) think. My point is, the "superior species contest" doesn't exist in any objective way, and that's what matters to me.

Isn't the very word, "superior," a rather silly word? What does it even mean? I don't know. I guess various humans (especially the arrogant ones) define it in various ways according to their own design or (more likely) convenience. Well, that's their convenience and they're welcome to it. In the meantime, the very idea that a human is superior to *anyone* or *anything* (even a rock for example) means virtually nothing to me. Doesn't mean anything to me; doesn't matter to me. Ah, so nice to not have to be shackled to some kind of superiority contest that I'd feel pressured to win. I'm shackled to enough kinds of pressure as it is. Please don't count me in on any superiority contest on top of all that. That'd be way more than this "superior" person could handle.

By the way, I have a riddle for any who'd consider it a (hopefully interesting) riddle: Could we consider modern Western humans, if we separate them from their technology, to still be human, or at least human in quite the same way that they were? After all, we modern Westerners are so married to our technology that it's practically like one of our limbs. So if we lost our technology, perhaps we'd still "be human" per se, but we'd be crippled humans! Hmmm, sorry, didn't mean to spoil the riddle by answering it myself, I actually hadn't planned to do that. Okay, let's say we wouldn't be *whole* humans, at least as far as the modern Western breed of human is concerned. I don't know; you tell me ... Guess our "adaptability" would really be tested then, wouldn't it?

Re (from ColorsWolf):
Quote:
"I know you like other humans may feel very 'protective' and 'caring' of other non-human creatures, but please don't let this 'protection' and 'caring' become 'discrimination' and 'patronizing.'"
Okay: as long as we're agreed that "protection," "caring," "discrimination," and "patronizing" are all ultimately subjective concepts -- just as I believe that *every* concept (as handled by the human mind) is ultimately subjective and the result of (hopefully educated) guesswork. What any one of those four quoted words means to one person, is certain to mean something somewhat different to someone else. Ain't it a rip-off to be a hopelessly subjective being living in a relentlessly objective world? Well, it is.

Oh by the way: can cats and dogs adapt themselves to (in essence reverting to their distant ancestors') life in the wilds? Well, it's been proven; many of them have done it. Thus it's possible, but I trust we can agree that there may (at least in theory and/or for argument's sake) be higher-priority considerations than whether something is possible.
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